A one-eyed surfing cat…
A one-eyed surfing cat…
Delighted to welcome Winona Kent to the Bookshelf with her recently release crime mystery Ticket to Ride.
About the book
In Lost Time, professional musician / amateur sleuth Jason Davey was rehearsing for Figgis Green’s 50th Anniversary Tour of England. Now they’re on the road.
But when a fortune-teller in Sheffield warns them of impending danger, the band is suddenly plagued by a series of seemingly-unrelated mishaps.
After Jason is attacked and nearly killed in Cambridge, and a fire alarm results in a very personal theft from Mandy’s hotel room, it becomes clear they’re being targeted by someone with a serious grudge.
And when Figgis Green plays a gig at a private estate in Tunbridge Wells, that person finally makes their deadly intentions known.
Jason must rely on his instincts, his Instagram “guardian angel,” and a wartime ghost who might possibly share his DNA, in order to survive.
Ticket to Ride is the fourth book in Winona Kent’s mystery series featuring jazz musican-turned-amateur sleuth Jason Davey.
One of the recent reviews for the book
Musician Jason Davey is touring with his mother’s band, Figgis Green, when strange things start to happen. Threatening emails, a falling gargoyle, and a guardian angel named Jilly are just some of the events that slowly escalate into a potentially life-threatening situation for Jason and his mom, Mandy. The death of an ardent fan who might have been stalking Jason ramps up the trouble in this delightful mystery.
Ticket To Ride is an interesting blend of old and new. Set in England, the author’s beautifully detailed descriptions of historic hotels, villages, and venues contrast sharply with the technology Jason uses to investigate the threatening emails. The story evolves into an intricate web of deception and revenge that had me guessing to the end. This is the 4th installment in the Jason Davey mystery series. Fans of British whodunits and music will love this book. I certainly did.
A selection of other books by Winona Kent
About Winona Kent
Winona Kent is an award-winning author who was born in London, England and grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, where she completed her BA in English at the University of Regina. After moving to Vancouver, she graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. More recently, she received her diploma in Writing for Screen and TV from Vancouver Film School.
Winona’s writing breakthrough came many years ago when she won First Prize in the Flare Magazine Fiction Contest with her short story about an all-night radio newsman, Tower of Power.
Her short story Dietrich’s Ash was an Okanagan Short Fiction Award winner and was published in Canadian Author & Bookman, anthologized in Pure Fiction (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) and broadcast on the CBC Radio program Ambience.
Her short story Creatures from Greek Mythology was a Second Prize Winner and WQ Editors Prize and was published in Cross-Canada Writers Quarterly.
Her spy novel Skywatcher was a finalist in the Seal Books First Novel Competition and was published in 1989. This was followed by a sequel, The Cilla Rose Affair, and her first mystery, Cold Play, set aboard a cruise ship in Alaska.
After three time-travel romances (Persistence of Memory, In Loving Memory and Marianne’s Memory), Winona returned to mysteries with Disturbing the Peace, a novella, in 2017, the novel Notes on a Missing G-String in 2019 and the novel Lost Time in 2020, all featuring the character she first introduced in Cold Play, jazz musician / amateur sleuth Jason Davey.
Winona has been a temporary secretary, a travel agent and the Managing Editor of a literary magazine. She recently retired from her full-time job as a Program Assistant at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health. She’s currently the BC/YT/NWT rep for the Crime Writers of Canada and lives in N
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.
I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.
I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.
Today in wonderful style, Rebecca Budd… a huge supporter of the creative community across her several artistic and promotional blogs, shares her thoughts on the prompt. And one of the key elements, is to live in the present and make every moment count.
Rebecca is on a ferry on her way to celebrate the retirement of her younger brother, and it is a perfect time for reflection on her own life and journey.
I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Rebecca Budd
My thanks to Rebecca for creating this wonderful video that shares her thoughts on her own youth and aspirations, but also reminds us that whatever time of life we might be in to make the most of the present and what is to come. I know she would love to hear from you.
About Rebecca Budd
I’m your host, Rebecca Budd.
I am a Blogger, Photographer, Traveler. Above all, I’m a life-long learner.
Tea, Toast & Trivia is about exploring the creative spirit within a dynamic, ever-changing global world. The pursuit of creativity is essential. It speaks to the soul of our culture and society. It allows us to celebrate our individuality and our togetherness. We live in a world that offers unimaginable possibilities.
My goal is to encourage a deep and profound awareness of our personal journeys. There is always a story to be read, an adventure to be imagined, and an idea to be understood. Our conversations and connections give meaning to the present while expressing the universal hopes and aspirations of humanity.
Sharing a cup of tea signals a pause, a breathing space.
Toast signifies bread – the staple food that has been with us since ancient days.
And trivia – those seemingly insignificant details that we soon forget – they are important. They influence our actions and define our lives. Isn’t it time to give relevance to what we overlook in our busy, even frantic schedules?
So put the kettle on and join me for Tea, Toast and Trivia.
I’m looking forward to sharing in our ongoing conversation.
Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could share the post.. thanks Sally.
Firstly, some funnies from Debby Gies followed by some funnies from Sally. Thanks to those who share the funnies on the internet.
D.G. Writes is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.
My thanks to Debby for excellent foraging
Check out Debby’s latest Travel Column: St. Thomas
Now for some funnies from Sally….
Miss Smythe was miffed… Her pet a Chihuahua was consistently second in dog shows throughout the country…
One day she decided to investigate by asking the judges why this was happening. It was explained to her that the true Chihuahua breed had smooth coats and her dog, despite being perfect in every other way, had a shaggy coat.
Miss Smythe decided to take action and popped into a local pharmacist to buy some hair remover.
The chemist handed her the latest product. ‘When you slap this on, it’s best to keep your arms up for two or three minutes,’ he said.
‘Oh it’s not for my underarms, it’s for my Chihuahua,’ she explained.
‘In that case,’ said the chemist, ‘don’t ride a bike for 30 minutes.’
The parish priest was a welcome visitor for short-sighted Mrs. Evans and after he had left one day she commented to her daughter how kind he was.
‘But that wasn’t the priest mum that was the doctor.’
‘Oh was it?’ Mrs Evans exclaimed with relief, ‘I thought Father O’Malley was getting a bit familiar!’
Popes and Lawyers.
The Pope dies and arrives at the Pearly Gates on the same cloud as a lawyer.
They are both ushered in and St. Peter assigns the lawyer to a mansion with a golf course while the Pope is confined to a single room with a radio.
Even the lawyer is surprised. ‘How come?’ he asked.
St. Peter replied: ‘We have near on 100 popes, but you are the first lawyer.’
Thank you for joining us today and we hope you are leaving with a smile on your face.. Debby and Sally.
I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.
I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.
Today Jacquie Biggar shares a short story based on the prompt, that reaches out to those who are trapped in addiction and scared to reach out for help.
What I Know Now That I Didn’t Know Then
USA Today Bestselling Author
I was eighteen when we met on the night of my birthday bash. Sparks crackled and it wasn’t from the giant bonfire heating the night air and throwing cinders twenty feet into the sky, turning the teen party into a ghoulish spectacle. Maybe I should have run while I could, but it was too late—the hypnotic lure of ecstasy enticed me into his dark web.
Every minute we could eke out of our days was spent together, nights filled with hunger and passion, days with laughter and reckless abandon. Hours driving country roads, talking non-stop or singing eighties rock tunes at the top of our lungs. Life was good, maybe too good.
My friends took a backseat to my new obsession, but I didn’t care, I was happy. Delirious even. Living with my parents put a crimp in our relationship, so I picked up a second job cleaning businesses at night (I waitressed during the day) and found a cheap apartment to rent. It wasn’t much, one bedroom, a galley kitchen and minuscule living room, but it was ours—mine and my love’s.
I wasn’t getting enough sleep and began to lose weight. Makeup helped to hide the pale, pasty look of my skin, but nothing could cover the bloodshot eyes and flagging energy. Well, except for the time I stole from work to be with my sweetheart, then all that weariness fell away and we soared to the heavens together.
Money was tight. Even though I worked sixteen-hour days, there never seemed enough to go around. I couldn’t give up my car, it gave me the independence I needed, so regretfully, I said goodbye to the sweet little apartment and began sleeping in the backseat of the car.
Nights were chilly with autumn on the horizon, and it wasn’t always easy to find a place near public washrooms (I sponge bathed in the sinks) without the cops checking me out for vagrancy, but I mostly made it work. At least until the insurance and registration came due.
I didn’t have a choice, I screwed up the courage and drove out to my parents’ place to ask for help, though deep inside, I already knew what they would say.
Mom answered the door. She looked older—sadder maybe.
“You didn’t need to ring the bell, this is your home, too, or it used to be.” She turned and climbed the three stairs leading into the kitchen, tattered slippers slapping her heels. “I just made a cup of tea and toast, would you like some?”
The aroma of fresh bread filled the house, making me dizzy with hunger. My pride warred with my stomach—and lost. “That would nice, thank you,” I said, as sedately as I could with my salivary glands in overdrive. “How have you been, Mom? Where’s Dad?” I kind of hoped he was there, it would be easier somehow.
She cast me a searching glance before concentrating on cutting two thick slices of white bread with golden crusts and dropping them into the old Toastmaster.
“Dad’s at work, won’t be back until late, so if it’s him you need you’ll have to come back another day.”
Cool and distant—not at all like the mother who cuddled me when I fell and sang me to sleep at night. Shame scorched my core. I’d done that.
“Mom, I came to see you.” A white lie, but the way her eyes brightened made me glad I did.
“Well, then,” she said, shuffling into the dining room with a pint of homemade strawberry jam and toast slathered in margarine. “This is nice—unexpected.”
The tea was hot and the toast mouth-watering, but guilt made it hard to swallow. How could I ask for money I knew they needed? Instead, I’d taken off the second I could and ignored the very people who gave me life. Shame washed over me, and I nervously scratched at my inner arms, the craving a constant hunger I couldn’t escape.
Noticing Mom’s worried gaze on my movements, I forced myself to rest my hands on the scarred table, after making sure my sleeves were pulled down. “Yes, well, I thought it was time and I had a day off, so…” Another lie. I’d been let go from my jobs—one for stealing cash from the register, and the other for not being reliable—Dad would be so proud. Not.
“Beth, is there something you need to tell me?” Mom reached across and grasped my frozen fingers. “Your father and I are always here for you, honey. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s what you do about it that counts.”
Could I betray my love and tell Mom the truth? Panic turned my veins to slush. Her voice came to me through a tunnel, the sound far-off and muffled. I couldn’t lose him, could I? “You need me,” he whispered, a cobra’s hiss that hypnotised and made my mind go blank.
But then Mom rose from her chair and came around the table to lean over and take me into her arms. The scent of yeast and lemon rose from her skin and her graying hair tickled my cheek.
“I’ve got you, Bethany. You’re not alone, baby girl. I’ve got you.” she whispered, tears from her—or was it me?—dampening our skin.
I was scared and embarrassed, and worried about what was to come, but I knew what I had to do. Leaning back, I looked into her beautiful, compassionate, green eyes and admitted my addiction.
“Momma, I need help.”
Heroin is taking our sisters, brothers, fathers, and mothers. It is highly addictive, and if cut with other toxic chemicals such as fentanyl, it’s a killer.
In British Columbia, Canada six people die per day from opioid overdoses.
©Jacquie Biggar 2022
My thanks to Jacquie for writing this story, carrying such an important message, in response to the prompt, and I know that she would love to hear from you.
About Jacquie Biggar
Jacquie Biggar is a USA Today bestselling author of romance who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!
A small selection of Jacquie’s books
My review for Love Me January 22nd 2022
Having read other books by the author I fully expected that this story would be heartwarming and in keeping with the spirit of Christmas. The characters are always relateable and being a romance they also tend to have attractive personalities which makes them likeable too.
The interactions between those falling for each other are subtle, and much is left to your imagination, which is something I prefer when reading about love. In this particular case you are left with the wonderful feeling that love is alive and well despite the global troubles impacting us all at this time.
At the heart of this story is also the issue of childhood leukemia which the author adds details of at the end of the book. A difficult subject to cover, particularly in a feel good romance novel, but Jacquie Biggar handles it very sensitively.
A book to curl up in front of a roaring fire, with a large mug of hot chocolate and a couple of hours free for some lovely escapism. Recommended for lovers of romance and those who enjoy a heartwarming reminder that there are good things in the world.
Thank you for joining us today and it would be great if you could share Jacquie’s story… Sally.
Welcome to our show and we are excited to share decades of music with you in 2022.
Here is my first selection of top 1995 hits which I hope you will enjoy.
Seal – Kiss from a rose
“Kiss from a rose,” from the album “Seal,” was included in the films “The Never Ending Story III” and “Batman Forever.” It quickly became an international success topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and making the top ten in many countries around the world. “Kiss from a rose” won three Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. It also was nominated for the MTV Movie Award for Best Song from a Movie.
January 12th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: The Allman Brothers Band; Al Green; Janis Joplin; Led Zeppelin; Martha and the Vandellas; Neil Young; Frank Zappa; The Orioles; Paul Ackerman
Bon Jovi – Always
“Always” was from the album “Cross Road” and was one of Bon Jovi’s biggest hits, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100; #1 in Belgium, Canada, Ireland, and Switzerland; #2 in Australia and the UK; and #4 in Germany. It sold more than a million copies in the US and three million copies worldwide.
February 9th Irish music and dance show “Riverdance” first opens in Dublin, Ireland with lead dancer Michael Flatley
Here are my first picks from 1995
Take That – Back For Good
“Back for Good” is a song recorded by British band Take That for their third studio album, Nobody Else (1995). It was written by lead singer Gary Barlow, who also co-produced it with Chris Porter. The song topped the UK Singles Chart, whilst also charting at number one in 31 countries, as well as hitting the top ten in many others (including the United States, making it their only hit in that country). Take That
March 27th “Back for Good” single released by British boy band Take That, reaches No. 1 in 31 countries
Simply Red – Fairground
“Fairground” is a 1995 song released by British soul and pop band Simply Red, released as the first single from their fifth album, Life. Co-written and co-produced by frontman Mick Hucknall, it makes extensive use of a sample of Dutch duo the Goodmen’s 1993 hit “Give It Up”. It became Simply Red’s first and only No. 1 single on the UK Singles Chart, staying at the top for four weeks in September and October 1995, and was also a chart hit in mainland Europe and Australia, but failed to generate long-term success in North America. Simply Red
June 23rd Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, England opens: Oasis, Pulp, and The Cure headline; other performers include Sinéad O’Connor, Tanita Tikaram, Simple Minds, War, Indigo Girls, and Jeff Buckley
Your Hosts for The Breakfast Show
William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.
His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.
While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.
Sally Cronin is an author, blogger and broadcaster who enjoyed four years as part of the team on Onda Cero International’s English speaking morning show in Marbella and then for two years as a presenter on Expressfm the local radio station in Portsmouth. She co-presented two ‘Drive Time’ shows a week with Adrian Knight, hosted the live Thursday Afternoon Show and The Sunday Morning Show guests including musicians and authors. Following this she became Station Director for a local internet television station for two years, producing and presenting the daily news segment, outside broadcasts and co-presenting the Adrian and Sally chat show live on Friday evenings.
She and her husband David have now returned to Ireland where they live on the Wexford Coast where she blogs and continues to write books.
Next week 1995 Part Two – We hope you will tune in.. as always we love to hear from you.. thanks William and Sally.
A small selection of post I have enjoyed in the last week or so and I hope you will head over to read in full and also explore the archives of these amazing bloggers.
Today the media is focused on what is wrong with the world and it is difficult to remember that there is also a great deal of beauty, usually associated with nature, who despite mankind’s best efforts continue to astonish and amaze. Here are some incredible people who share those special images with us.
Tofino Photography – Wayne Barnes – Tofino, BC, Canada
In 1913 Tofino was an established settlement for Europeans who joined the First Nations peoples looking to living in this beautiful environment. Now people from all over the world come to Tofino to live, vacation and experience the super natural world of rainforests, ocean and wildlife.
Wayne has stunning photographs of all the resident wildlife including bears, whales, eagles, sea otters, sea lions, wolves and many other local residents.
Image ©Tofino Photography
Head over to enjoy this post starring Romeo one of Tofino’s eagle family: Clouds, Sunsets and Romeo
The next photographer who has travelled the world to share stunning images is Cindy Knoke, who also has an amazing setting in her own backyard to inspire and delight.
In this post an amazing flower that I have never seen before. Huge poppies that bloom in The Holler where Cindy lives in rural California…
Image ©Cindy Knoke
Head over to enjoy the other images of this amazing flower: Romneya 8th May
The next post I suggest you head over to enjoy is from Robbie Cheadle, who manages to combine working full-time, being a mum, writing novels and poetry, and making the most incredible cakes, with travelling in her home of South Africa and sharing wonderful photographs with us. This photo of lion cubs are one of the images taken on a recent trip to the Ukutula Conservation Centre
Image ©Robbie Cheadle
Head over to enjoy this post and explore Robbie’s archives: Into the Lion’s Den Ukutula
Apart from images there is plenty of inspiration to be found around the writing community and Jennie Fitzkee who celebrated her birthday this week, gifts her young students the opportunity to explore the world through the love of books and reading.
Today was one of those ‘moments’ in teaching, the ones that turn something small into something big. It was a simple question, yet it opened a whole new world for children.
It happened like this…
Every day we have the ‘Question of the Day’ posted for children when they arrive in the classroom. The question is written on the easel, and there are two trays alongside- one for ‘yes’ and one for ‘no’. Children find their name on a big craft stick and place it on the ‘yes’ or the ‘no’ tray. Today’s question was, “Do dinosaurs still live?”
After snack we tally the votes. This is terrific, because children watch as we mark the tally votes- four lines and a cross line. That’s five. They’re now able to recognize five without counting the lines. That’s subitizing.
Head over to discover the wonders the children discovered in an illustrated dictionary: From dinosaurs to the stop game
Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape, has purposed his blog to be the launch pad for many an author and blogger starting out and was an amazing help to me back in the early days of my blog and still is. Since we have been exploring the world in this post his latest guest photographer and author Baer Charlton is a perfect example of how travel and experiences of the world can be captured in photographs and also between the pages of a book.
Why a Writer?
The same question could apply to my being a picture framer off and on since 1966. Or driving big trucks, riding motorcycles, surfing, traveling to distant places, and even getting sprayed on top of a volcano in Rwanda by a teenage female gorilla.
When I was four, I asked my mother to teach me how to type. I had noticed that when she was setting type or printing, none of my siblings were around. I would have hours of access with no interruptions. And as we stood laboring away at the mind-numbing business of printing, we talked. And in our way, we verbally wrote stories.
Head over to read the rest of this fascinating and inspiring guest post: Meet Guest Author, Baer Charlton…
And last but certainly not least… Marcia Meara offers authors several opportunities to share their work on her welcoming blog. One of these is her series Ten Things You May Not Know About Me, which I enjoyed participating in. This week author Jan Sikes took up the challenge and there are hippies and Harleys on offer.
Good Morning, Everybody. Today, I’d like you to welcome author Jan Sikes to The Write Stuff. Jan is part of the wonderful team of writers over on the Story Empire blog, and she’s going to share a very interesting #TenThings list with us today. I know you’ll enjoy learning all these goodies about her! Jan, the floor is yours!
Thanks for having me here today, Marcia!
Ten Things You May Not Know About Me by Jan Sikes
1. My maiden name is Smith. Growing up my sister and I were always referred to as those Smith girls. Smith is ranked as #1 when it comes to common last names.
Head over to discover the other nine things you may not know about Jan: Marcia Meara with guest Jan Sikes
Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy the posts in full.. thanks Sally.
For so many of us, this last two years have resulted in changes to our lifestyle, relationships and reliance on others. For millions who have contracted Covid, there has also been for lingering aftershocks that have impacted their physical well-being.
However, change is also a natural and progressive force in our lives as we move through the various stages in our lifetime. Each year sees minor shifts in the way we are physically but there can also be changes in our mental and emotional perspectives. In the next few posts I will be exploring those changes.
When we are younger and the world is our oyster, we tend to feel that anything is possible. We have dreams and ambitions, and with support and some luck we are often able to achieve at least some of them. However life has a way of intruding into our well laid plans, and you find that some of those dreams have fallen by the wayside as we fulfill our role in our families and society.
When there is a problem with our computers, which are like us, complicated, programmed and prone to the occasional virus… we do a reboot. This resets all the original content and is effectively a fresh start. With an older model computer we might think of increasing the memory or power and adding additional programmes that bring it up to date.
As a blogger on Word Press I will admit that sometimes I get a little irritated by some of the changes that are made to the platform.. Well make that very irritated.. But of course those people who have moved to mobile devices find the upgrades very much more useful. My desktop computer is where I am most comfortable, and I have to remember that it is down to me to make the change in attitude to accept that this is the future and get to grips with it.
I have rebooted my life a number of times.. Sometimes forced into it by circumstances and other times by choice. Often it has resulted in a new direction with opportunities and achievements, and occasionally I have been up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
Luckily since childhood I have travelled the world and lived and worked in countries where I needed to adapt to be included in society. I am not afraid of change and in fact everyone laughed when I announced that our move back to Ireland and to this house was the last!! Six years later and we are decorating in anticipation of putting the house on the market…
There are a number of reasons for a reboot including health or weight issues, financial restrictions, a toxic relationship, a feeling of life passing you by, disappointment in your job or realising that your formal working life is over. The question that usually gets asked is ‘What am I going to do now?’
The elements of change.
As we get older we do tend to become more entrenched in our lives and routine and disconnecting from that and floating off into space looking for the next harbour to anchor can be stressful.
There are varying degrees of change, and there are also many different reasons for that change. The two main forms are those we decide to make and those that are thrust upon us.
I am going to be looking at three elements that are subject to both enforced and voluntary change. Physically, mentally and emotionally we are programmed for change as our body and brain develop and age.
Firstly, I am taking a look at the enforced physical changes that effect us all. For many this natural aging of our bodies, is unwelcom and it has fuelled a multi-billion dollar industry to try and halt the process. (And yes I am a contributor!)
We are set upon an inescapable course of events from the moment we are conceived. Our genetic makeup will determine many factors that contribute to the way we develop and mature including our eye colour and eyesight, hair colour and hair density, bone structure, height, skin tone, tendancy to forms of arthritis and other diseases and to a degree our lifespan.
We also carry genes from random pairings over thousands of years that contribute to the complex chemical makeup which is unique to everyone of us in the form of our DNA. This will result in family traits that are clear to see from each generations photographic contributions.
The fact is that we are born, live and then we die. Barring accidents, and with the help of modern medicine we should all look forward to living into our 80s, 90s and increasingly into 100s. Which of course fuels another industry – Pharmaceutical companies are delighted with the prospect of an aging population that requires copious amounts of pills to hold back the inevitable.
There is an enforced part of the equation when it comes to physical changes based on our genetics, natural aging and environment.
There is however the voluntary factor which can make a huge difference in the rate that we change physically and that is related to our diet and lifestyle choices.
Some of the genetic traits that I mentioned are carved in stone. But we can make a difference in a number of areas, particularly where there is a family connection to disease.
Previous generations who have contributed to our makeup may have had what I call ‘famine’ years that will have impacted their general health, immune systems and also their physical development.
My two grandmothers were about 5 feet 4 inches tall and my maternal grandmother was very slight and suffered badly from asthma which resulted in her early death at 52.
If you look back 100 years to old family pictures it is clear that the majority of people in them are much shorter than we are today. I know that most of my grandparents and the next generation were all under 5′ 7″ with the women actually much smaller. I am almost six feet tall which would have horrified my grandmother who believed that petite was the only female form allowed!
The vast majority of our ancestors, unless very privileged would have had simple diets and would have certainly not had access to as much fresh vegetables, fruit, and protein all year around that we have today.
There are a number of factors that determine life expectancy including the introduction of modern medical care and better living conditions, but diet will also have played a major role in the average life expectancy at birth in 1914 of 50 years for men and 54 for women.
Today in Ireland for example the average life expectancy is around 81 for men and 84 for women which is a huge leap in such a short space of time. You can check your own country’s numbers Worldometer Demographics Life Expectancy
So this is definitely an area that we can impact physical change voluntarily not just for ourselves but also in future generations as they benefit from our choices today.
Eating the right foods also improves skin tone and therefore reduces wrinkles, improves hair condition, and with a little help from the beauty industry one can banish those grey hairs that do infiltrate. A balanced diet with moderate execise will also help improve joint health and bone density and stimulating the brain will ensure that you keep mentally vital during your lifetime.
Giving up smoking not only improves the health of the lungs but will also improve your facial skin tone that ‘leathers’ in the bath of 4000 chemicals. Maintaining a healthier weight and exercising will improve muscle tone and improve posture. Drinking pure clean water every day will keep your body clear of toxins, hydrate your skin to look and feel more youthful and also improve hair condition.
We also can make the voluntary choice to see not just an aging face and body in the mirror but to also see a life well lived, the laughter lines, the wisdom and the character.
I have a strategy that works for me when I look in the mirror –
No glasses : Age 40 – Driving glasses : Age 50 – Reading Glasses : OMG!
As with any project to make physical changes to our bodies, we need a project plan.
This requires that you measure where you are today in terms of your physicality. It includes what I consider to be the key indicators that identify health issues – Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar levels, Balance of LDL (unhealthy) and HDL (healthy) cholesterol and food and exercise.
It is always good to have a review of all of these and frequent intervals and certainly over the age of 50 I recommend that BP, Blood sugar levels and Cholesterol are checked annually and every six months after the age of 60. You can have this checked in many pharmacies today and at a reasonable cost which is well worth the money.. Or you can do what we do and have home kits which are available online.
Once you have a start point you can set a reasonable target for improvement and I usually suggest six weeks for BP, Sugar and Cholesterol levels and you might find this of help.
Reducing excess weight by just 6kilos (14lbs) will make a difference and following the eating recommendations should also improve your results at the end of 6 weeks. At the end of June I will be featuring my weight loss programme again updated for 2022… In the meantime here is a link to a shopping list of foods that will provide all the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Print off Weekly Grocery Shopping List
Having followed your plan for six weeks it is important to maintain those improvements by appreciating the benefits of looking great, having more energy and less age related aches and pains.
However, none of this will come into effect unless you make that decision to make the changes in the first place.
Next time the hard-wired changes in our brain as we age and the voluntary changes we can make to stay mentally young.
About Sally Cronin
I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.
Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.
As always I look forward to your comments and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them.. thanks Sally.
In this series you are invited to share an extract of 500 words from your most recent book published within the last 12 months. Details at the end of the post.
The aim of the series
Today an extract from Richard Dee’s latest release, on pre-order until June 1st, and my advance review for this intriguing science fiction thriller. We are Saul.
About the book
When Saul is paralysed in an accident, he thinks it’s the end of his life. In fact, it’s just the beginning.
While he’s contemplating what he can do with what remains of his existence, the mysterious Dr Tendral offers him a way to make a difference. All he has to do is join his project. There are no other details until he agrees, he’s either in or out.
What choice does he have?
Agreeing is just the beginning. Saul undergoes drastic surgery, only then is the full depth of the project revealed.
Or is it?
As time goes on and he learns more about Tendral’s scheme, Saul’s new life becomes increasingly difficult.
In the end, he has to abandon everything as he learns the truth.
All second chances come with a price.
And extract from We Are Saul
“And how are you going to do that, map my brain?”
“We need to connect you to our equipment first.”
I had visions of people shaving my head and attaching wires, I asked Tendral if that was what he intended.
“Not exactly,” he said, “we’ve moved on since those days. What do you know about nanobots?”
“Not a lot, they’re tiny machines or something. Aren’t they sci-fi?”
“Sort of, it’s an area with a lot of research, there’re two types, nanobots and xenobots, nanobots are made from metal and plastic, the xenobots are made from stem cells. They do the same thing, they can be programmed for a specific function, like destroying cancer cells or delivering drugs precisely. That’s where the problem with people like McGee come in, because they’re built from living tissue, they see xenobots as unethical.”
“He said as much, without all the details. He also told me that people on your project have died.”
He frowned. “I’ll be totally honest with you, now and always. We had a problem with a few of the early volunteers, but it wasn’t due to the nano technology, they were down to problems in surgery. We’ve found a better way of doing things, less invasive.”
“I want to know all about it, before I commit.”
“You already have committed, but I’ll level with you. It’s very straight forward. We open a small hole in your skull, we call it a burr hole. They are normally used to relieve pressure after head trauma but we use the burr hole to implant a xenobot set under your dura, that’s the name for the membrane covering the brain. These xenobots have a single task and all they need to complete it. Their function is to construct a fine three-dimensional net in the body of your brain. The xenobots are like spiders, they spin a microscopic conductive thread that is woven between your neurons. Once they’ve done that, we introduce nanobots in a drip, through your PICC line. Their function is to detect your neurons firing as we get you to describe things to us. The nanobots attach to the neurons, without damaging the structure of the brain tissue and transmit the firing information back to the net.”
It all sounded pretty drastic. “This net, all the xenobots crawling around, knitting. Won’t it damage the structure of my brain, all those wires?”
He shook his head. “No, they’re so small, they can slip between the cells. Cells are fairly robust. The wire is fifty times thinner than a human hair, it’s fixed in position by a sort of chemical glue, to the glucose monomer of the cell membrane. Once it’s in position, it can’t move. You shouldn’t feel any sensation from what they’re doing.”
“That’s way above my level of understanding but I get the idea. I find it hard to imagine anything of that size being able to do anything useful.”
“These bots are good at what they do,” he said.
©Richard Dee 2022
My advance review for the book March 5th 2022
Having read other books by Richard Dee I was delighted to be offered an advance copy of his latest release.
There have been elements of what might be termed science fiction in stories going back hundreds of years. However it is only in the 20th century that reality caught up with the fantasy with space exploration, and humans not only landing on the moon, but orbiting the earth on a permanent manned station.
We are now faced with incredible possibilities both for the future of space travel, and in the advancements this brings to humans in the form of their capabilities.
The concept for this novel is very clever as it builds on the achievements in a number of areas including robotics and human enhancement, taking them to a whole new level.
Humans do have free will, but when you have lost everything that you have including your control over your own body, how desperate would you be to accept a radical and experimental lifeline?
Saul is about to find out. Whilst he may be paralysed, his mind and his heart still yearn for love and connection, the question is, will all of that still be possible in his future?
This is science fiction, but the author writes with such clarity that you find yourself believing that this too, like so many of the futeristic imaginings of the past, might well be feasible at some point in the coming centuries, if not decades.
Richard Dee has created wonderful complex characters including the enigmatic and secretive Dr Tendral, the nurses who assist Saul in his recovery and progress in the experiment, and others on the sidelines who will influence the success or failure of the project. He is known for his world building both in science fiction and fantasy novels and that is evident in this book too.
As a thriller prepare for some unexpected twists, dangerous revelations and some thought provoking questions about the morality of interfering with human mortality.
I can highly recommend this intriguing and fast paced science fiction thriller which is likely to leave you wondering how soon it will become fact.
A small selection of other books by Richard Dee
About Richard Dee
A native of Brixham in Devon, Richard Dee’s family left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.
Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, including Marine Insurance Surveyor and Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich. In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as H.M.S. Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority.
Richard was offered part time working in 2010, which allowed him to return to live in Brixham, where he took up writing and blogging. During this time, he also set up and ran a successful Organic bakery, supplying local shops and cafés. The urge to write eventually overtook the urge to bake but Richard still makes bread for friends and family. Richard is married with three adult children and two grandchildren.
Check out the videos on Richard Dee’s Scifi where you’ll find free short stories, regular features on writing, book reviews and guest appearances from other great authors.
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. Sally
What will be in the post and how to get in touch
Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord that you might have missed this week.
I hope you are doing well in your neck of the woods. In this one we have had some glorious weather this last week and I have taken advantage of the garden. Decorating is going well with the dining room now pearl grey and white woodwork.. Awaiting the floor to be sanded and I am off to buy new curtains during the week.
The young plants I potted a couple of weeks ago are beginning to flower and it is a bit of mystery as to the colours as I bought variety packs and in a week or two I will share the results.
On the blog front
I am delighted that I Wish I Knew Then series is being enjoyed and there are several more scheduled for the coming weeks and so grateful to those who are participating and sharing their stories. This week Jacquie Biggar, Rebecca Budd, Denise Finn and Jacqui Murray share their thoughts on the prompt.
As always I will be putting on a Summer Book Fair featuring all the authors that I have personally recommended who are on the Smorgasbord Bookshelf. In the first posts beginning in June, I will be sharing books that are the first in a series to encourage readers to start at the beginning and hopefully then read the following books. I will then continue with authors with stand alone novels, non-fiction, memoirs etc. Look out for that from June 6th through to September.
As always I must thank these three amazing contributors as the blog would not be the same without them.
William Price King joined me on The Breakfast show this week for the second part of the hits from 1994 and for the last part of the series on Friday featuring Ella Fitzgerald. – On Friday William begins a new series about the legendary Aretha Franklin. You can also find William – Blog– IMPROVISATION– William Price King on Tumblr
Debby Gies took us to St. Thomas this week on the Travel Column… and on her own blog shares her thoughts on being back in Toronto after her Mexican winter break and adjusting to the solitude again, weather and how grief plays its role in her perspective on life and the future. How Am I Doing? Head over to her blog to catch up on her posts including her Sunday Book Review D.G. Writes
Carol Taylor shared some amazing recipes this week to ensure we are getting sufficient Magnesium in our diet… on her own blog she reminds us about animals waking up after hibernation in our gardens and in particular what to and not to feed hedgehogs in her Monday Musings,
In her ‘My Kitchen Post, she shares some store cupboard basics, in her Food Review what constitutes ‘processed food’ and in Saturday Snippets her prompt is Glass.
Head over to catch up on Carol’s posts this week: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 8th -14th May 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “” and Saturday Snippets where “Glass” is my prompt.
Thanks to you for all the support, likes, comments and shares during the week and now on with the show….
Thanks so much for dropping in today and for your visits and support during the week.. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and stay safe.
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